The Perfect Moment to Launch an Online Course
2020 threw a tricky curveball at most businesses with a significant conclusion. If you want to survive, you must pivot. None of us is standing on stable grounds at the moment.
The new safety measures we must follow have a devastating effect on some industries. Just think about theatres, gyms, event centres …
The past 10 months we witnessed an unprecedented increase in online activities. Businesses who wanted to stay in the game had to find alternative ways to serve their customers.
The fact that you’re reading this blog post is telling me that you probably have one of these businesses.
You’re looking into ways of pivoting and diversifying your offerings.
You’re on a mission to reinvigorate your sales figures. And if you’re thinking about creating and launching a new online course to achieve your financial goals, you’re probably onto something.
Because the fact is, that offering online courses is not for everyone. You have to get into it for the right reasons and be very strategic about the whole process. That’s the only way to achieve great results.
Oh no, I’m not talking you out of creating an online course, far from it.
I love online courses (naturally). I think it’s a wonderful way to breath new life into your business. It’s the perfect tool to engage with your community and customers in a new way, and generate revenue. But many, who get started on this route don’t know what they’re getting themselves into and end up disappointed.
So today, I’m going to invite you to take a good, hard look at your current situation and make some informed decisions.
Let’s dive in.
Why should you have an online course?
I’m starting with the pros of creating an online course as part of your business offering:
The pandemic is far from over, and what we’ve learned these past months is that “business as usual” can be shut down in a short notice. If you mostly work with your Clients face-to-face, then moving your offering to an online course can be a great alternative.
Online courses are excellent for reaching more customers and working with a lot more people at once.
By stretching your capacity, you can increase your revenue.
An online course can transform your business from a local shop into an international enterprise.
An online course can lead to further opportunities. You can use it to upsell even more courses. Or you can offer higher-end premium services for some selected customers on the back of a course. An online course can easily become a crucial part of your sales funnel.
Creating and selling a successful online course will elevate your profile and establish you as an authority in your field.
An online course can turn into a passive income revenue stream if you decide to use it that way.
What do you need to consider about online courses?
On the other side of the coin though, here are some aspects to consider. This is not a cons list, it’s just something you’ll need to be aware of before you decide to build and sell online courses.
If you want to create a high-quality online course, that takes time and energy. You will need to pinpoint your topic and design your course. You’ll have to record videos or audios, write PowerPoint presentations and craft your script. Your learners will need handout materials and workbooks too. Not to mention the user experience, which brings up the question of hosting your course. And this is only part of the process. You’ll have to launch your course as well, which requires time and energy. The whole process is rewarding and can be enjoyable, but do you have the time and commitment? The last thing I want you to do is jump into course creation, spend many hours on it and then abandon it, wasting your precious energy and time. So let’s be smart about this, and be honest with yourself.
Following on the previous point, you have to make sure that you’re creating a quality course. I’m not saying that you are planning to shortchange your customers on purpose. I know that you have far more integrity than that. But sometimes when we are a bit panicky and try to rush things, the quality of our work potentially suffers. And a low-value course will surely harm your reputation.
Do you have the audience to promote your course? I’m talking about an e-mail list or a substantial Facebook or Instagram following. If you don’t, it’s not a problem, there are ways to work around this. But the size of your audience and the number of your potential paying learners will inform your marketing strategy and your launch. If you have to build your audience whilst you’re launching your course, that will require focused energy and attention too.
How comfortable are you interacting with your audience? Should you create an entirely automated course? Do you feel uncomfortable talking in front of an audience? Even if it’s just a zoom call? Should you step out of your comfort zone and hold regular Q&A sessions and interact with your learners through your course?
Guess which can demand a higher price tag!
Yup, you’re right. Automated (often called evergreen) courses are great: you create them and then you leave your audience to it.
But the courses that yield the most revenue are the ones where the expert (YOU) is involved in the learning process.
This can be weekly Q&A sessions, regular interaction with your learners on the FB Group or providing a 1-2-1 service as part of your course.
If you are comfortable with live online interactions, consider offering a more involved course. You can demand significantly higher prices if your audience has access to your tailored wisdom and support.
Let’s make a decision
Knowing the pros and some potential pitfalls of course creation, I would like you to grab a piece of paper and answer the following questions:
List your top 5 motivating reasons for creating an online course. Why do you want it/need it?
Now go back to each reason and get more specific. Do you want to make more money? How much? Do you want to have more customers? What is your target number? What is your timeline? Make sure that you articulate your goals in a measurable way.
How much do you want to get involved in the course delivery? Would you like to have an automated course? Or would you prefer a more interactive one where your learners have a chance to talk to you, ask questions etc.? What are you comfortable with and how much are you willing to step out of your comfort zone?
Are you ready to spend time and effort on your online course creation and sales?
Look into your current business commitments and ask yourself how much time you really have to focus on course creation and promotion. If your income dried up due to Covid-19, then I guess you have the time. But you also need to consider if you have enough money to cover your expenses until your course is ready for selling (and that usually takes a couple of weeks).
Don’s skip this business review part. It is vital for your business in this current situation that you choose wisely.
Once you decide that online course creation and selling is the right way forward, the real fun begins! You are ready to dive into it and create something really special.
The 10-step course creation formula
This blog post is not long enough to cover everything about course creation. Having said that, I don’t want to leave you high and dry now that you probably decided to go for it. So I’m going to share with you my 10-step process of course creation.
When you’re ready to create your online business, follow these steps:
- Step 1: Pinpoint your course topic (Hot tip: you can’t and shouldn’t include all your knowledge and experience in one course)
- Step 2: Choose your course format wisely (remember our evergreen vs. more involved course discussion)
- Step 3: Position your Pricing and consider the market demand.
- Step 4: Outline your course content (when you pinpoint your course topic, you should focus on the end result - base your outline on this end result!)
- Step 5: Choose activities for your course - how are you going to get your learners involved in the learning process? How will you ensure that they will achieve the end result (the reason why they bought your course)?
- Step 6: Create your content and record your course material (The content is your course-book, PowerPoint presentation, scripts, handout materials, quizzes, questionnaires, workbooks etc.)
- Step 7: Decide where to host your online course (think of the user experience your learner will have but consider the cost too. You can deliver a wonderful course on a shoestring.)
- Step 8: Create a launch strategy and everything you need for a successful launch (record a freebie session, write your social media ads, get testimonials etc.)
- Step 9: Learn how to manage the live elements of the course delivery (delivering a session, handling difficult questions, engaging your audience, ensuring that your learners do the work). Let your personality shine!
- Step 10: Launch and deliver your course
I hope I’ve managed to make your decision-making process a little easier.
I’m looking forward to seeing your mission accomplished: your new online course launched.